TANAUAN, Leyte, Nov. 8, 2016 – Three years after Super Typhoon Yolanda, over a thousand Catholic faithful, led by Palo Archbishop John Forrosuelo Du, honored the Blessed Virgin Mary under the new title Our Lady of Hope of Palo.
The prelate, a Marian devotee, said that a person who has faith “knows in his heart that Jesus is there for him” like the Our Lady of Hope who carries Jesus, reminding the faithful that Jesus is with her.
Du said further, “Only Jesus saves us when we place our hope in the Lord, we feel safe.”
“True faith works true love,” he added.
In his homily, Du said he anticipated the possible occurrence of another calamity similar to Super Typhoon Yolanda. “We know that a calamity like Super Typhoon Yolanda will not be the last due to climate change.”
Should this happen, Du noted: “Our best weapons are faith, hope, and love.”
“We must not fear, it is rather our enemy [who] exposes us to dominion of the evil.” He said “the antidote of fear is faith,” saying only those who believe will understand and those who believe in Jesus will never live in darkness.
“We are still in the process of rehabilitation; look at the people around you; give, share, do not be selfish and self-centered,” Du said.
The faithful can carry out their mission with the Mother of God accompanying them, he added.
Our Lady of Hope of Palo, who is depicted carrying the Child Jesus holding a rosary, with an imploring child at her feet demonstrates the virtues of faith, hope, and love. According to Du, the child symbolizes the children who sought Mary’s intercession during the typhoon.
The newly-introduced devotion to the Holy Mother of God under this new title, whose feast will be celebrated on Nov. 8 beginning this year, is a sign of gratitude to Mary for her protection during the typhoon and continued guidance to those rebuilding their lives.
During the Holy Mass to commemorate Super Typhoon Yolanda’s 3rd anniversary as well as to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Hope of Palo, Du and Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona emphasized the need for cooperation, gratitude, and prayer three years after the natural disaster.
“Memory is a reason why we are all here, it open to gratitude and prayer. Without gratitude and prayer, we are stale,” said the Caceres prelate.
About 500 residents of this coastal town died during the storm surge or got buried under the rubble of the hurricane-like typhoon three years ago today.
Gawad Kalasag awardee
Aid from government and private initiatives hastened the recovery and rehabilitation of the town, moving the Natl Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to grant it the Gawad Kalasag award, which recognizes LGUs, NGOs, individuals, and groups for “outstanding contribution in the field of DRRM and humanitarian assistance.”
“Death awakens us that there are people who love us, that there are people around us who can help,” said Tria Tirona.
He said, representatives from Caritas Philippines and other Caritas organizations abroad came to Tanauan due to their admiration for the super typhoon survivors.
“You provided us with inspiration on how to stand up again and to move forward,” he added.
Tria Tirona likened the people’s ability to rise above the destruction with Jesus’ agony and resurrection.
“Jesus fell three times, he stood up three times; on the third day He resurrected in glory,” he explained.
The prelate said the survivors’ indomitable spirit is seen because “you value your life, your family and the people around you.” (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCPNews)